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Honeywell’s UOP Improves Process Efficiency In Biofuel Production; Provides Technology For Clean Coal

March 16, 2009

Des Plaines, Ill.-based UOP LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc. and part of Honeywell's Specialty Materials strategic business group, recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Saint-Romuald, Québec, Canada-based Vaperma Inc. to jointly offer technology to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in biofuel ethanol dehydration.

Under the agreement, the two companies will offer Vaperma's Siftek polymer membrane technology.

"As fuel demand and concern over climate change continue to rise, biofuels production must be profitable and sustainable, with a reduced energy footprint to make a true impact," said Amar Anumakonda, manager of business development for UOP Renewable Energy and Chemicals. "The Vaperma solution helps to maintain the viability of ethanol and butanol from first-generation feedstock sources as well as second-generation cellulosic sources, such as corn stalks, switchgrass or other plant wastes that do not compete with the food supply."

"We have developed unique solutions to integrate our Siftek membrane technology both upstream and downstream of the molecular sieve process in order to increase existing ethanol dehydration plant capacity," said Claude Letourneau, president and CEO of Vaperma, which develops, manufactures and sells membranes, modules and systems for the refining of biofuels and the purification of natural gas. "Second-generation cellulosic processes will benefit the most from the steam savings and allow for increased bio-electricity generation and revenue."

Vaperma's patented polymer membrane technology separates water vapor from other vapor compounds in a gas mixture. The Siftek technology can be used to "de-water" ethanol streams to get a fuel-grade ethanol product that exceeds 99% purity . This yields energy savings because the technology replaces multiple units traditionally used in the production process to achieve the same outcome.

UOP develops technology, products and equipment to support fuel production worldwide and since 2006. has been developing biofuel technology, with specific focus on second-generation feedstock technologies.

In addition to the agreement with Vaperma, UOP announced in mid-February that its technology has been selected by Powerfuel Power Ltd. to capture and remove contaminants from synthesis gas (syngas) made from coal for a new clean coal power station in Stainforth, U.K.

The Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant, built adjacent to the Hatfield coal mining operation, is scheduled to start operation in 2013 and use syngas from coal to generate 900 megawatts of power. Powerfuel's new facility will be the first clean-power coal station in Europe and is designed for up to 90% overall carbon capture.

"Supplying cleaner coal power is imperative with rising energy demand and growing concerns over energy independence and carbon emissions. Our goal is to offer an energy solution for Europe with near-zero emissions," said Grant Budge, Powerfuel director. "UOP's technology is an important part of achieving this goal."

UOP's Selexol process uses a physical solvent to remove acid gas from streams of syngas or natural gas. In the new Hatfield plant, the Selexol unit will remove virtually all sulfur species and contain them for further treatment in a sulfur removal unit. The unit will also remove 97% of the carbon dioxide contained in the syngas, a key contribution to overall carbon capture of the facility.

Honeywell Specialty Materials is a CP 50 company. To visit the Honeywell CP 50 profile page, visit: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/cp50/2008/honeywell.html.

 To view the entire CP 50 list, visit: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/cp50/index.html.

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